The Latest: Virus hospitalizations hit record in California

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FILE – In this Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, file photo, a pedestrian walks past a mural reading: “When out of your home, Wear a mask over your mouth and nose,” during the coronavirus outbreak in San Francisco. San Francisco is joining a statewide curfew and Silicon Valley is banning all high school, collegiate and professional sports and imposing a quarantine for those traveling into the region from more than 150 miles away. Santa Clara County has the highest case rate in the Bay Area, leading to the stricter rules, said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

LOS ANGELES — More than 7,400 people are hospitalized for coronavirus in California, the state’s highest number yet.

The state reported 7,415 coronavirus hospitalizations on Sunday, citing the most recently available data from the previous day. More than 1,700 of those patients were in intensive care units. California’s previous record was 7,170 in July.

As of Sunday, California has had nearly 1.2 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 19,000 deaths since the pandemic began. The state reported around 15,600 new cases on Saturday.

Counties statewide are preparing for stricter COVID-19 restrictions that will take effect Monday amid surging cases and Thanksgiving travel. Health officials are preparing for a wave of cases in the next two or three weeks that could be tied to holiday gatherings.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

—Fauci: US may see ‘surge upon surge’ of virus in coming weeks

—U.K. stocks up on vaccines, hopes to start virus shots within days

—NYC to reopen schools, even as virus spread intensifies

— Federal judges uphold Kentucky governor’s virus school order

—When Turkey changed the way it reports COVID-19 infections, it confirmed what many long suspected: The country faces an alarming surge of cases

—The European plazas where people gather at Christmas are new just empty squares due to the pandemic.

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Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

LOS ANGELES — Counties across California will begin stricter COVID-19 restrictions on Monday as cases surge statewide and Thanksgiving travelers return home.

Health officials are preparing for a wave of cases in the next two or three weeks that could be tied to holiday gatherings.

Los Angeles County will impose a lockdown calling for its 10 million residents to stay home beginning Monday.

Santa Clara County is banning all high school, collegiate and professional sports and imposing a quarantine for those traveling into the region from more than 150 miles away.

San Francisco and San Mateo counties moved to the most restrictive purple tier in the state’s pandemic blueprint for the economy.

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CHICAGO — Public health officials in Illinois on Sunday reported 57 more deaths from COVID-19, as well as 7,178 new confirmed and probable cases.

There have been 720,114 COVID-19 cases in Illinois since the pandemic began. The death toll has reached 12,193 people.

The state reported 62,740 tests in the past 24 hours with more than 10.4 million tests overall.

Currently, 5,858 people in Illinois are being hospitalized for COVID-19, with 1,185 people in intensive care units.

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NEW YORK — New York City will reopen its school system to in-person learning and increase the number of days a week many children attend class even as the coronavirus pandemic intensifies in the city.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that some elementary schools and pre-kindergarten programs will resume classes Dec. 7. Others will take longer to reopen their doors. The announcement marks a major policy reversal for the nation’s largest school system.

It comes just 11 days after de Blasio announced that schools were shutting down because of a rising number of cases. The plan for reopening middle and high schools is still being developed.

Some elementary schools and pre-kindergarten programs will resume classes Dec. 7, a week from Monday, the mayor said. Others will take longer to reopen their doors.

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INDIANAPOLIS: Public health officials in Indiana say 24 more people have died from the new coronavirus for a total of 5,418 deaths in the state.

The Indiana Department of Health reported 4,335 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. The overall number of cases in the state is 333,312.

Public health officials say there are another 267 people who likely died from COVID-19 based on clinical diagnoses but for whom there’s no positive test on record.

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BEIRUT — The recorded coronavirus death toll in Lebanon has topped 1,000, just as the small Mediterranean country of about 6 million plans to ease a two-week nationwide lockdown.

Lebanon’s Health Ministry reported 13 new deaths on Sunday, raising the toll to 1,004. An additional 1,266 new infections have brought registered infections to 126,903 since February.

Health Minister Hassan Hamad said the government plans to ease a two-week lockdown that ends Monday. Hamad said the lockdown has given the battered health sector some breathing room, allowing the government to expand ICU capacity in the country.

The lockdown included a curfew from sunset to sunrise.

Lebanon is facing a crippling financial and economic crisis which had preceded the coronavirus restrictions and was only deepened by a massive explosion in Beirut’s port. The damage from the blast has further strained limited resources, particularly in the health sector.

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ISTANBUL— Turkey’s COVID-19 fatalities continued to rise Sunday, hitting another record with 185 new deaths.

The death toll has reached 13,558, according to health ministry statistics. The number of critically ill patients has climbed over 5,000.

The ministry said 29,281 people had tested positive in the past 24 hours. The Turkish government resumed reporting all positive cases this week after only reporting symptomatic patients for four months.

Nighttime curfews over the weekend are in effect for a second week across the country but media reports show packed public spaces during the day.

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ATHENS, Greece — Greek authorities announced 1,193 new coronavirus cases Sunday, a significantly lower daily figure than recently.

The total number of cases since the pandemic began is 104,227.

There were also 98 deaths over the past day, pushing the total number of fatalities to 2,321.

Despite the drop, the public health system remained close to capacity, as far as the number of specialized intensive care units go. There are 603 patients on ventilators, authorities said.

In the northern city of Thessaloniki, where most of the new cases have occurred recently, patients are now being transferred to private clinics requisitioned for the purpose. The first transfers took place Sunday.

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BERLIN — Austria’s defense minister has tested positive for the new coronavirus, becoming the second member of the country’s Cabinet to be infected.

The Austria Press Agency reported that her ministry said Sunday Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner is doing well and will work from home. She had already been in quarantine for 10 days because she had been in contact with another person who tested positive.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg tested positive for the virus in mid-October and returned to his ministry later that month after showing no symptoms.

Austria on Nov. 17 deepened lockdown measures in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. They are due to run though Dec. 6.

Infection rates have declined in the Alpine country, but Chancellor Sebastian Kurz cautioned in an interview with Sunday’s edition of the Kleine Zeitung newspaper that Austrians will still have to live with “massive restrictions” after that.

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ROME — For a second straight day, the number of additional deaths of COVID-19 patients dropped considerably in Italy, according to Health Ministry statistics released Sunday.

Also lower were the number of beds occupied by hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

There were 541 deaths of persons with confirmed coronavirus infections since Saturday, compared to 686 on the previous day and 827 on the day before that.

Since the pandemic began, Italy has tallied 54,904 known deaths. Daily new caseload numbers also dropped considerably – 20,648 on Sunday, compared to 26,323 on Saturday — but as often happens on weekends, there were far fewer COVID-19 swab tests performed since the previous day. Italy’s total of confirmed cases in the pandemic rose to 1,585,178.

Doctors and other health experts are urging the Italian government to maintain most of the current anti-COVID-19 restrictions in the run-up before Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. They fear that crowds of travelers, shoppers and revelers would trigger another surge in contagion.

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HONOLULU — A group of Hawaii leaders launched a campaign Sunday to promote the islands as an appealing location for a remote office with a view.

Now that many companies, especially in the tech industry, allow employees to work from anywhere during the pandemic, they hope Hawaii will be alluring.

They’re also throwing in roundtrip tickets to Honolulu for the first 50 approved applicants.

Some say high-paid workers will bolster an economy decimated by dramatically fewer tourists.

Others worry what those with Silicon Valley money will mean for housing, especially when there’s already a crunch for affordable places to live.

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PRAGUE — The Czech government said Sunday it is easing measures imposed to contain the new coronavirus due to falling numbers of new confirmed cases.

Health Minister Jan Blatny said all stores, restaurants and bars can reopen on Thursday and a ban on Sunday sales is lifted.

Restaurants can be open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., though they are limited to 50% of their capacity. Stores and shopping centers also must limit the number of customers.

Hair salons, fitness centers and gyms are allowed to reopen, as are zoos, museums and galleries.

The Czech Republic was among the hardest hit by a new wave of infections in the fall, but the number of new cases has been on a decline since Nov 4.

The country of almost 10.7 million had 518,649 confirmed cases with 8,054 fatalities. The day-to-day increase of new cases reached 2,667 on Saturday.

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PARIS — France’s highest administrative court on Sunday ordered a rethink of a 30-person attendance limit for religious services put in place by the government to slow down the spread of coronavirus.

The measure took effect this weekend as France relaxes some virus restrictions, but it faced opposition by places of worship and the faithful who called it arbitrary and unreasonable. Even before the ruling, several bishops had announced they would not enforce the restrictions and some churches were expected defy it.

The Council of State has ordered that Prime Minister Jean Castex modify the measure within three days.

French churches, mosques and synagogues started opening their doors again to worshippers this weekend — but only a few of them, as France cautiously starts reopening after its latest virus lockdown.

Many people expressed irritation outside several Paris churches where priests held services for groups that numbered over 30.

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BAGHDAD — Iraq has reopened its schools amid a raging pandemic that has claimed more than 12,000 lives across the country, with kids returning to socially-distanced classrooms and other safety measures Sunday.

Students will be attending school only one day per week according to a rotation system meant to prevent crowding and the spread of the new coronavirus, according to the Education Ministry.

Iraq, like much of the rest of the world, has resorted to distance learning after schools closed in February due to the virus outbreak. But online education is out of reach for many in a country with poor infrastructure that has suffered decades of war.

Iraq has the second-highest outbreak and number of deaths in the Middle East region after Iran, with more than 500,000 confirmed cases, according to Health Ministry figures.

Daily infection rates average 2,400 cases per day — a slower rate than in previous weeks — but health workers say the number may be higher as many Iraqis with symptoms choose to stay home and avoid hospitals to get tested.

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ISLAMABAD — Pakistan has recorded 43 more deaths and 2,829 new COVID-19 cases.

With the new figures, Pakistan’s tally of COVID-19 deaths is now 7,985.

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HONG KONG — Hong Kong has reported 115 new coronavirus infections, the first time it has seen cases in the triple digits since Aug. 2.

The government on Sunday also announced that classes at kindergarten, primary and secondary schools will be shut for the rest of the year in light of the worsening coronavirus situation in the city.

Of the 115 infections reported Sunday, 24 were untraceable. Another 62 were linked to recent outbreaks in dance studios across the city, taking the total number of infections in that cluster to 479, health officials said.

Employees and recent guests at three restaurants in the city have also been ordered to undergo compulsory testing after multiple positive cases had been linked to the venues.

Hong Kong has reported 6,239 coronavirus infections since the pandemic began, with 109 deaths.

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea is shutting down indoor gyms offering intense workout classes and banning year-end parties at hotels in the greater Seoul area to fight the virus.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Sunday authorities will also ban the operation of private music institutes teaching singing and wind instruments and saunas at public bath houses in the capital area. He said fitness centers, cafes and libraries operating inside apartment complexes will also be closed. The new steps will be effective from Tuesday.

The country reported 450 new cases on Sunday. South Korea on Thursday registered more than 500 new virus cases for the first time in eight months.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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